Echo is the long-awaited spin-off to Hawkeye that continues Maya Lopez’s journey through the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Many fans thought that the Marvel Spotlight banner would be the show’s savior in bringing a darker edge to Disney Plus. However, it’s that limited series format that holds the show back from being something truly spectacular.
This doesn’t mean the show is without its strengths. Fans of Hawkeye will be glad to see Alaqua Cox is back in top form in Echo. The actress was a stand-out part of that series, and putting her center-stage for a project proves that was far from a fluke. Cox brings a truly three-dimensional performance to Maya Lopez, creating a character shaped by the trauma of her past without sanding down the charm and wit that makes audiences love them.
The Marvel Spotlight series certainly had an uphill battle in bringing a deaf lead to a mainstream Disney Plus audience. However, Echo succeeds in spades without having to sidestep the character’s disability. It’s truly impressive how much tension and emotion the series can draw out of the audience in moments of pure silence.
Emotion isn’t just limited to communication, of course. Echo brings some of the most impressive action sequences in any MCU Disney Plus project to date. Fans can feel the impact of every swing with dynamic camera movements that truly capture the speed of some of the best fight scenes in projects like Daredevil and Shang-Chi. Just like those projects too, each action scene in the series helps inform the audience about who Maya Lopez is, how she thinks, and what her limits are.
Alaqua Cox is also joined by a stellar supporting cast. Echo features what may be the most textured and nuanced bunch of side characters in any Disney Plus project aside from Loki. Nobody in the series feels like a caricature and — with few outside projects to draw on for the main supporting players — builds a community of characters that feel like real people.
Chaske Spencer’s Henry stands out as a personal favorite. While characters like Biscuits (Cody Lightning) and Bonnie (Devery Jacobs) both serve as key influences in Maya’s story, Henry is a character whose immediate presence alone is strong enough to carry his own subplot in any other show.
Of course, that’s where the cracks in Echo truly start to form. It feels as though the town of Tomaha holds the complexity of hit ensemble shows like Yellowstone or The Bear, but only allows the viewer to dip its toes in the shallowest end of the pond.
This also harms the stakes of the show. The break-neck pace of the limited series format mandated by Disney Plus and Marvel Spotlight forces the show to jump straight into the action with Maya Lopez’s quest for war. This means that, instead of the stakes growing with the supporting cast’s involvement, they’re dropped into the middle of a story that started in an entirely different project.
These issues don’t break Echo entirely. If anything, the series leaves fans begging for more than Marvel Spotlight could have ever possibly given them. Echo is worth its price of admission (in this case, a Disney Plus subscription) if only to see the journey of Alaqua Cox’s Maya Lopez continue, but be warned that it will be over before fans even realize they want more.